With the presidential election a dead heat and many other races too close to call, hundreds of religious leaders nationwide are urging their congregations to vote for a specific candidate. They break the law when they do so that’s the point but it’s unclear whether there’s any real penalty for pastors who make such endorsements from the pulpit.
About 1,600 pastors across the country violated a 58-year-old ban on political endorsements by churches in October by explicitly backing political candidates in their Sunday sermons, according to the Alliance Defending Freedom of Scottsdale, Ariz., a conservative Christian legal organization behind a campaign called Pulpit Freedom Sunday.
The 1954 law they are challenging prohibits charitable groups, including most churches, from making candidate endorsements, but doesn’t bar ministers, priests, rabbis and imams from speaking out on other ballot issues, like voter initiatives, or organizing get-out-the-vote drives and education efforts around elections themselves.
The alliance is seeking to force a court showdown over the constitutionality of the law, violation of which can cost churches their tax-exempt status. Since Oct. 7, the original Pulpit Freedom Day, many pastors who participated in the protest have posted their remarks online or sent them to the Internal Revenue Service, essentially daring the agency charged with enforcing the prohibition to put up or shut up.”
Ed. Note: Yelm has a local pastor that has injected himself in our local politics for quite some time now, as covered here for almost 7 years.